Wall of Shame

Yesterday I did everything you're not supposed to do. I didn't follow instructions, I kept on going in spite of all signs telling me to stop and think, and even when I found myself in a place I didn't much care for, I told myself everything was fine. And I ate too much chocolate...

Actually, I probably didn't eat enough chocolate. But the other stuff is sadly true.

This is what I did:

What was intended to be the centre panel for the quilt started off well. I reworked Skye's drawing a bit, then scaled it up to 24" by 32" using the ancient hand drawn grid method. I initally thought I might applique the panel, then had the brilliant (ahem) thought that I could paint all the colours with fabric dye, and embellish as needed with embroidery.

I pre-soaked my cotton fabric with soda ash, let it dry, and transferred the design with dressmaker's carbon paper. All good. I mixed my dyes and added sodium alginate to thicken them in preparation for painting.

Oh. Did I mention that, whilst I did a fair amount of playing with acrylics and brushes at art school, I have never painted with fabric dyes before? Well, how much different can it be, I thought, and barged on ahead.

Sample?? Hah, my arrogance had no patience for such minutia. My brush was already in the colour - it seemed a little dark, but then it always dries lighter.

Oops! It seems to be bleeding. Well, the book suggests using a resist - white glue will do. Hmmn, it seems to be taking a while to dry, I'll just work on a different section.

Damn!! I put the wrong colour in that part. Oh well, I'll cover it up with a piece of cloth later.

And so it went, for at least six hours. I wrapped it in plastic, to let it batch (fix) for 24 hours, as the book said.

I had some leftover quinoa and lettuce for supper. That's not a dish. It was quinoa out of the pot and a chunk of lettuce in the hand, not even with any dressing. As I chewed I eyed the plastic-wrapped bundle.

You know it, I couldn't wait. Rinsed it out and surveyed the results.

I was so caught up in the excitement of creation that the obvious flaws were piffle to my eye. It would just take a little stitch here, a patch of fabric there - I would make it work!

Maybe it was the day's poor nutrition, but I actually auditioned several different cloud fabrics, chose one, and spent the next hour stitching it into position. (With crap Chinese embroidery floss, which shows you how far gone I was.) 10:30 p.m., and I had less than half the cloud done. I held it up to look at it, and the blessed angels stepped in.

"Heather," they said. "It will take much more time to fix this than to just do another one. Consider today practise."

And in my only wise move of the day, I listened. Soaked another piece of fabric in soda ash solution, and hung it up to dry overnight.


  1. Anonymous10:39 PM

    oh my, some days are like that. You are not alone we all do it at some time. Some of us more than we would like. Better luck with the second try

  2. you are nuts! it's awesome! I ma going to borrow your mojo! oxoxoxoxoxox grrrrrr

  3. Yes, I am nuts. But you knew that already! I worked til midnight last night doing a second one. it's much better.

  4. Anonymous12:16 PM

    no matter how others "see" our work we have to be comfortable with it ourselves. "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." (Scott adams)


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